Cisco SD-WAN Review

Securely connects to our hybrid cloud using transit VPCs and cloud on-ramp for fast deployments

What is our primary use case?

Full replacement of office to office, office to data center, and data center to data center MPLS and private lines with commodity Internet and SD-WAN.

How has it helped my organization?

80% reduction in WAN costs.

New sites can be onboarded in hours or days versus many months with carrier based technology. 

What is most valuable?

The most useful feature for our organization is the combination of on-prem and cloud-based deployments. We connect securely to our hybrid cloud using transit VPCs and cloud on-ramp for fast deployments. We have recently started using deep packet inspection allowing the use of the transit path as the firewall instead of putting firewalls on both ends of the mesh.

What needs improvement?

The inexpensive Viptela hardware may be replaced with overpriced Cisco routers. This would be a tragic mistake for Cisco as the lightweight commodity platform built by Viptela is the reason to own this solution. 

For how long have I used the solution?

Since it was Viptela in 2017.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It is extremely stable. You can set it and forget it, if that is your thing. There are a lot of improvements with each full version release. As with all things Cisco, if you have the chance to wait for a few months before deploying the latest release, do it. They can be buggy for the first few months. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It is very scalable. We have it deployed to 23 countries, AWS, Azure, and our data centers. 

How are customer service and technical support?

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

MPLS, P2P lines and multi-point VPN mesh. These were either too expensive or required too much operational overhead. 

How was the initial setup?

The team at Viptela,and subsequently at Cisco, were extremely engaged and ready to help ensure we had a successful deployment. The concept of an overlay and underlay can be intimidating if you are used to conventional networks, but you will get used to it. 

What about the implementation team?

We deployed it ourselves with our own network engineers. 

What was our ROI?

80 percent reduction in WAN costs. There are no MPLS or P2P circuits left in the organization. 

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Cisco, Citrix, and Fortinet.

What other advice do I have?

Map out all of the applications that use your WAN today. If you have assets like physical phone systems or dedicated VPN devices that are not ready to be off-the-books, start the project anyway. As contacts and hardware become end of life, onboard those sites. You will have a full mesh in no time. If you wait for all of your existing technology to be end of life, you are missing the point.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Hybrid Cloud
**Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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